The blues masters often rely on the 6th arpeggio for their bass line, running along the 6th, 5th and 4th strings. In most keys, this can be played neatly using the middle finger on the 6th string, and then alternating index finger and pinky on the 5th and 4th strings. If we take the key of G, this arpeggio looks as follows:
To take you through a couple more keys, the example below runs through a 12-bar blues in E utilizing the 6th arps for E, A and B.
Note the exceptions to this when we walk up from F# to A in the 4th measure and up from G# to B in the 7th measure. This is another frequently used maneuver. On the next page, we'll take a look at a simple tune from Blind Willie Johnson that utilizes these techniques.